NFL: NFC Playoff Scenarios and Predictions for Week 17

After the Saints and Falcons play tonight, just one more week will remain in the NFL regular season. As usual, there are myriad iterations of playoff matchups that could become a reality based on what happens tonight and in Week 17.

Here is a rundown of the NFC playoff scenarios. (Click here to see the AFC playoff scenarios.)

NFC Playoff Scenarios

Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants

This one is pretty easy.

The Cowboys and Giants play Sunday night. Whichever team wins becomes the NFC East champion and will get a first round home game. Neither team can make the playoffs any other way.

nfc-playoff-scenarios-predictions-giants-cowboys-49ers-packers-falcons-lions-saintsImage credit: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via Wyld About Pro Football

Green Bay Packers

This one is also pretty easy. The 14-1 Packers clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs with their win over the Bears last night.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers clinched the NFC West a while ago, so they will host a first round home game at a minimum. They are still alive for a first round bye as well, and in fact are in the driver’s seat.

The 49ers are 12-3, and the Saints already have three losses. Because the 49ers own the tic-breaker with the Saints, all San Fran has to do is beat woeful St. Louis next week to clinch the first round bye and #2 seed in the NFC playoffs. (Or, if New Orleans loses tonight to Atlanta, the 49ers don’t even have to beat St. Louis next week.)

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have a clinched a playoff spot, but they are playing for a lot more than just a chance at the #2 seed when they face Atlanta tonight.

New Orleans hasn’t even yet clinched the NFC South division, nor a first round home game. They can do that tonight if they beat Atlanta. Even if the Saints don’t beat Atlanta tonight, they would still clinch the NFC South and a first round home game by winning their Week 17 game against Carolina or if Atlanta were to lose its Week 17 game to Tampa Bay.

If the Saints win both this week and next week, and San Francisco falls to St. Louis next week, the Saints would lock up the #2 seed in the NFC, a first round bye, and a second round home game.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons clinched at least a wild berth last night when Chicago lost to Green Bay. If they beat the Saints tonight, the Falcons maintain a shot at the NFC South title and a first round home game. As mentioned above, Atlanta would need to defeat the Bucs (should be easy) and New Orleans would need to lose to Carolina (not so easy).

Detroit Lions

The Lions clinched a playoff spot with their win over San Diego in Week 16. Because they play in the NFC North with Green Bay, they do not have a shot at anything more than a wild card road game in round one of the playoffs, regardless of what happens in Week 17. All that is still to be determined is who they will play.

NFC Playoff Predictions

Here is how I think the pivotal Week 17 games will go:

  • Saints beat Atlanta (Week 16)
  • Saints beat Carolina
  • Atlanta beats Tampa Bay
  • San Francisco beats St. Louis
  • Giants beat Cowboys
  • Lions beat Packers

This would create the following first round playoff matchups:

  • Byes: Packers (14-2), 49ers (13-3)
  • #3 Saints (13-3) v #6 Falcons (10-6)
  • #4 Giants (9-7) v #5 Lions (11-5)

What do you think will happen? Comment below.

About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.


  1. i like your predictions except i think Dallas will beat giants the Giants lost to the redskins and almost and should have lost to the cowboys but miles austin lost it in the lights they will be ready for them this time.

  2. i think saints will go to the Superbowl because they have drew Brees and Darren Spourls and i think greenbay packers will not go to the Superbowl because there not doing very good right now and i think Dallas cowboys will beat the new york giants and the Dallas cowboys will go to the playoffs and they might lose the playoffs but i just know the saints will go to the playoffs and win then there going to challenge some team in the Superbowl but i know the new Orlean saints will go to the Superbowl because they are a good team.

  3. philthy phil says:

    The cowboys will fall to the giants. Romo may be playing but with an injured throwing hand. The giants are better balanced on both sides of the ball. Dallas defense will not stop manning. Especially with the division on the line. Dallas also wont produce points on the giants defense with a quarter back that has a bum hand.

  4. Packer Backer says:

    Don't be surprise if you see the ravens getting into the superbowl agaist the packers and packers winning superbowl again.

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